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Helping Mother Earth Heal: Diné College and Enhanced Natural Attenuation Research at U. S. Department of Energy Uranium Processing Sites on Navajo Land

  • William J. WaughEmail author
  • Edward P. Glenn
  • Perry H. Charley
  • Marnie K. Carroll
  • Beverly Maxwell
  • Michael K. O’Neill
Chapter

Abstract

Diné College is a key stakeholder and partner with the U.S. Department of Energy in efforts to develop and implement sustainable and culturally acceptable remedies for soil and groundwater contamination at uranium mill tailings processing and disposal sites on Navajo Nation land. Through an educational philosophy grounded in the Navajo traditional living system which places human life in harmony with the natural world, the College has helped guide researchers to look beyond ­traditional engineering approaches and seek more sustainable remedies for soil and groundwater contamination at former uranium mill sites near Monument Valley, Arizona, and Shiprock, New Mexico. Students and researchers are asking first, what is Mother Earth already doing to heal a land injured by uranium mill tailings, and second, what can we do to help her? This guidance has led researchers to investigate applications of natural and enhanced attenuation remedies involving native plants – phytoremediation, and indigenous microorganisms – bioremediation. College faculty, student interns, and local residents have contributed to several aspects of the pilot studies including site characterization, sampling designs, installation and maintenance of plantings and irrigation systems, monitoring, and data interpretation. Research results look promising.

Keywords

Uranium Mining Alluvial Aquifer Natural Attenuation Nuclear Regulatory Commission Hydraulic Control 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

Funding for the preparation of this chapter was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) Office of Legacy Management (Contract No. DE-AM01-071M00060). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDOE.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • William J. Waugh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Edward P. Glenn
    • 2
  • Perry H. Charley
    • 3
  • Marnie K. Carroll
    • 4
  • Beverly Maxwell
    • 5
  • Michael K. O’Neill
    • 6
  1. 1.DOE Environmental Sciences LaboratoryS.M. Stoller CorporationGrand JunctionUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Research LaboratoryUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  3. 3.Navajo Nation, Uranium Education ProgramDiné CollegeShiprockUSA
  4. 4.Diné Environmental Institute, Diné CollegeShiprockUSA
  5. 5.Diné Environmental Institute, Diné CollegeShiprockUSA
  6. 6.Agricultural Science Center at FarmingtonNew Mexico State UniversityFarmingtonUSA

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